Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

Girl on Fire
by Alicia Keys
Publisher: Harper Collins
Imprint: Harper Alley
Release date: March 1, 2022
ISBN: 9780063029569

Lolo Wright’s life is pretty ordinary.  She may live in the Monroe Housing Projects with her father, brother, and maternal grandmother, but she’s going places.  She’s taking AP courses and doing well in school, and sure, she misses her mother, but she doesn’t lack love.  She’s just keeping her head down until she graduates.  It’s not until she and her brother are accosted by a pair of cops in a case of mistaken identity and her brother is roughed up that she discovers she has an untapped superpower. Faced with temptations to use that power on bullies, she manages to keep it in check until the neighborhood drug dealer wants to use her abilities to protect his drug and “protection” businesses.

Lolo is a sympathetic character gorgeously drawn by artist Brittney Williams. Her family represents multigenerational families beautifully. Her single-parent father is a small businessman who not only supports Lolo and her older brother, he also cares for his former mother-in-law.  Not only does he strive to build character in his children, he goes beyond mere mentorship of youth in the projects he offers them gainful employment and a place to stay.  Graphic novels have strong appeal for reluctant readers, and this full-color action-packed take on Black Girl Magic is focused on inner strength and power in situations that are sometimes beyond one’s control. 

Teens looking for superhero action and strong main characters of color will find this title appealing. Recommend this to fans of Sara J. Maas’s DC Icons Catwoman: Soulstealer or Jason Reynolds’ Miles Morales, Spider-Man.

-Jodi Kruse

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.